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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 - Page 1

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 28, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas                                v NEW PELS 1TUNG Vol 148 No 179 20 pages in 2 sections July WEDNESDAY Serving Coma County since 1852 50 cents Fire destroys home Officials Low Water pressure made little difference in outcortae f BY CHRIS CREWS AND PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writers Poor water pressure hampered firefighters efforts to extinguish a blaze that claimed a New Braunfels familys home Tuesday morning More than 20 firefighters fought the fire at 1639 Allison Drive hi the Walnut Estates subdivision east of Interstate 35 The fire reported at am Tues day destroyed the home and its contents valued at more than James Solis a former firefighter and now a teacher in Comal Indepen Brush firebums 10 acres near Texas 46 Tuesday PagefOA dent School District said he watched firefighters use one hose to fight the fire that burned his home He called the water pressure from the fire hydrant 200 feet from his house There was only one hose and I dont you put another hose on it They told me they didnt have enough Solis said Sous said he did not know whether New Braunfels Fire Department or New Braunfels Utilities was at fault for the lack of water pressure Fire Chief Jack Collier admitted firemen had a problem with the water pressure but said more pres sure would not have affected the outcome Was there a problem with the water Yes Did it i IfrlJUiBlrt it tripe any difference wm outcome Cpjjiff said there beenedtfiousi amount ofwM I dont think the outcome would have been any dif ferent because of the fact the fire spread quickly and hid in the Collier said he discussed the water problem with NBU officials and the matter was under investigation NBU assistant general manager of operations Roger Biggers said I cant imagine why they wouldnt have had enough water We dont know what hap pened between the fire hydrant and the City Council member Larry Alexander lives one block from the fire scene Alexander said he had been in the neighborhood since 1983 and never had a problem with water pressure I asked NBU to check and they assured me there was adequate water pressure and adequate Alexander said Officials said the fire started in the garage of the home after a domes dryer did not shut off The fire consumed the garage went into the attic entered the rest of the house and blew through the roof of the garage Collier said four firefighters inside were evacuated when the fire broke through the roof At that point the house was a total loss and crews concentrated on preventing the fire from spreading to adjacent homes Solis said his wife Rebekah went to bed about 2 after loading clothes into the dryer an hour ear lier He said he smelled smoke about 3 awoke his wife and draped his 4yearold daughter Emily over his shoulder they went next door to call the fire department See Photo courtMy New Braunfels Fire Department Flames rise from the home of James Soils 1639 Allison Drive on Tuesday morning Above a malfunctioning clothes dryer is blamed for the Tuesday morning fire which destroyed the home of James Solis at 1639 Allison Drive Damage to the home and its contents including a 1966 Ford Thunderbird was estimated at Above right Lindsye Hagens 11 takes a closer look at damage to the room of her 4yearold cousin Emily Soils Lindsye said she hoped Emily would under stand what happened SsJ Map courtesy Drainage committee reviews ordinance Tentative approval given for monthly fee of BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writer The citys Drainage Advisory Committee agreed Tuesday that a monthly fee was too high to charge residents for drainage improve ments It might not seem like a lot but a year might ruffle some committee sec retary Mary Cunningham said The sevenmember committee which spent about an hour reviewing a drainage ordinance draft did not officially agree on a new amount but was given tentative approval The committee which first met in June will take up the issue at its next meeting at on Aug 10 as well as the issue of a monthly fee for commercial industrial and retail sites Once the committee approves the ordinance originally drafted by the Freese Nichols engi neering company of Dallas and Austin it will send the recommendation to New Braunfels City Council According to the draft the purpose of the ordinance is to provide for the expenditure of public mon ey for designing building and maintaining flood control and storm drainage projects and cleaning sediment out of storm drains streets sidewalks and watercourses distribute the burden of constructing drainage improvements fairly and equitably throughout the city and establish a means through which the devel opment community can participate in improv ing the drainage ways to reduce the adverse impacts The ordinance suggests two specific ways to fund drainage improvements a Watershed Management Utility Fee for developed areas and a Watershed System Development Fee for proposed developments The committee discussed only the utility fee on Tuesday The drafted ordinance suggests charging an initial per month for each residential lot or parcel of land for the utility fee The committee tentatively changed it to a per month fee for each residential unit pr undeveloped I think is a good starting com mittee member David Jr said If people really argue it council will have the choice to bring it Later David said hed agree to a compro mise suggesting Id love to have a fee structure based on committee vice president Rick Myrick said explaining smaller homes wouldnt pay as much City engineer Bolner said We may be creating an accounting nightmare A similar nightmare could be in the future As the ordinance draft reads the watershed See INSIDE Abby 6A Classifieds 51 OB Comics 2B Crossword 5A Forum 4A Movies 5A Obituaries 3A 2B CISD trustees approve bus plan by slimmest of margins BY HEATHER Tooo Staff Writer BULVERDE Comal Independent School District trustees adopted a new bus plan for die upcoming school year by a slim margin Tuesday night despite protests by transportation officials In a vote trustees approved changes to transportation policies that would adjust bus routes shorten student riding time anddivide LOOP secondary and elementary students on Trustees Dan Krueger John Clay and Robert Loop voted against the changes after an houilong discussion divided the board between adopting them as policy or Adjustments to bus routes would become effective no later than Jan 4 2000 but other poli cies would begin imme diately Trustee Lester W Jonas who developed the plan said the changes would provide a more costeffective way to transport the districts students over 600 square miles He said the plan would improve an inef fective transportation system that had many students catching buses before and forced some to ride for more than two hours Bus drivers currently must transport ele mentary students to and from school before picking up secondary students CISD currently does not have the funds to buy 30 to 40 new buses to allow all schools their own bus fleet Each bus costs Superintendent Jerry Major told patrons in June the district would look at changing the current transportation plan after a contro versial decision by the board to stagger school start and end times The board reversed that decision Transportation director Ken Franklin had several concerns Franklin said he disagreed with maximum bus routes times in the plan which set ele mentary route times not to exceed two hours in the morning or four hours a day The plan also set secondary routes not to exceed hours in the morning or five hours a day Franklin said the bus route times were not adequate Until we get statistics to back up what   

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